ESS Region 5: Larriesha “China Cox

September 21, 2020
ACSA Region 5 Every Student Succeeding Larriesha "China" Cox.
Editor’s note: ACSA’s video series profiling the winners of the Every Student Succeeding awards program was impacted by COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions. Each week, EdCal will feature Q&A interviews with all 19 winners from each ACSA region. In addition, there will be video stories of the students whose footage was completed before the pandemic. Watch for these videos to premiere on ACSA’s YouTube channel and ACSA’s Facebook page this fall.  Grade: 12 School: Downtown Continuation High School District: San Francisco USD ACSA region: 5 Before Larriesha “China” Cox came to Downtown Continuation High School in San Francisco, she attended school on the other side of town. She rarely went to class, had conflicts with teachers and, when she arrived at Downtown, was a full semester behind on credits. But as China adjusted to her new school and formed more positive relationships with staff, she changed her mindset. She set a goal to have 100 percent attendance, which she achieved her senior year. Plus, she served on the school’s student leadership committee and on the school site council. As part of the Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative program at school, China participated in habitat restoration activities at local parks, joined multi-day camping trips and visited national parks. She used photography to create projects and narratives to present at the collaborative’s exhibitions. In 2018, she used photos to tell a story of environmental change, and in 2019, she created her own autobiographical digital story that combined family photos with photos taken during field studies. China’s hard work paid off. She graduated a semester early and is now enrolled at the City College of San Francisco. “She went from being disengaged and unmotivated to being a school leader and a positive example for her peers,” said Downtown Continuation High School Principal Ellen Wong. What are your favorite subjects and hobbies? My hobbies and interests include music and my pets. I currently have a collection of ball pythons that I’m hoping to expand. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are today? One of my greatest challenges that got me where I am today is deciding to transfer schools during my sophomore year. I needed to transfer in order to graduate high school on time. It was a difficult process that needed to be done in very little time, but I was determined. And although it was hard, I could have never imagined such a perfect outcome. What educator helped you along the way and how did they help you? I owe my success to the Downtown High School community, but most importantly, (to) my Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative family. Without my three teachers’ guidance and encouragement, I don’t know where I’d be today. But it definitely wouldn’t be college. They changed my entire view on school and for that I am forever thankful. What advice would you have for students facing similar situations? No matter what you face, you are strong enough to overcome it. It can get rough, without a doubt, but the journey can build you up to a new and amazing person that you never knew was possible. What does it mean to win this award? It means a lot to me to win this award. It’s motivation for me to continue my education, because I’ll never know the outcome. I’ve surprised myself with my accomplishments once, and I hope to do it again.

Every Student Succeeding winners overcome the odds

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